UP FOR A CHALLENGE: McDowell High NJROTC Hosts Summer Leadership Boot Camp | Local News

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McDowell High NJROTC cadets stand tall in their uniforms Saturday morning proud of the accomplishments of the past week.


PHOTO BY JEFF MC CLURE


What would entice a group of 200 high school students from 18 schools to board school buses, some traveling up to eight hours in the sweltering summer?

These students know that once they arrive at their destination, they will be challenged physically, mentally and emotionally for the next six days.

Who are these students? These are of course students of NJROTC (SLT) or Summer Leadership Training Camp.

Each year, McDowell High NJROTC hosts a week-long camp at Camp Bud Schiele in Rutherford County. Cadets are challenged with a schedule of events that start with waking up at 5:30 a.m. (or 5:30 a.m.) until ‘lights out’ with taps at 10:30 p.m. (or 10:30 p.m.) every night, according to a press release .

The best part of all is that this camp is run by the cadets fulfilling the military leadership roles of battalion staff, company commanders, platoon commanders and their assistants. These cadets carried out the “plan du jour” or daily schedule and made sure things ran smoothly, honing their leadership skills in the process. Navy and Marine NJROTC instructors from participating schools are on hand to support cadets throughout the week as needed.

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McDowell High NJROTC Hosts Summer Leadership Training Camp

First-year McDowell cadet Katlyn Dalton-Barnes (wearing the hat) renders a high-pitched military salute during drill evolutions.


PHOTO BY JEFF MC CLURE


Every cadet is an essential part of the organization, including those new to NJROTC. First-year NJROTC cadets are thrust into often confusing journeys, and it’s amazing to watch their shipmates guide and mentor them to success. Cadets quickly learn the importance of leadership and follow through by working together to achieve goals. Respect for others and self-esteem grow, and friendships are formed beyond school boundaries, according to the press release.

You may be wondering if the cadets are having fun during this disciplined and very busy week. Absolutely. As well as enduring the heat and occasional rain showers, which added to the adventure of sleeping in tents; the cadets endured a busy schedule. Physical exercise, drill and a variety of fun activities were the order of the day. Other activities included ziplining, high ropes course, canoeing, swimming, drone flying, team building activities and archery. Through these different activities; cadets also learned the meaning of teamwork and unity while having fun.







McDowell High NJROTC Hosts Summer Leadership Training Camp

McDowell High Cadet Commander Taylor Wyatt leads the battalion for the Pass-in-Review portion of the graduation ceremony.


PHOTO BY JEFF MC CLURE


Marksmanship events have proven to be a favorite category enjoyed by most cadets. These events included air rifle, .22 rifle shooting competition and clay pigeon shooting. NRA instructors guided each cadet through each step with an emphasis on procedures and safety. The cadets gained valuable knowledge to apply in their own lives regarding firearms and many were in fact first-time shooters.

The NRA instructor was impressed with the attention to detail of the shooting sport presented by the cadets. Many may think that the purpose of marksmanship type activities is to promote hunting and shooting. In reality, the goal is to teach safety, discipline, focus and other skills that cadets can use in the future, according to the press release.

Melora Bennett, Principal of McDowell High School, came out to watch and even got in on the action by trying her hand at skeet shooting. She said, “Visiting our NJROTC Summer Leadership Camp is a highlight of my summer at MHS. Cadet dedication and camaraderie radiates throughout camp as cadets form lasting bonds and friendships. I am extremely proud of our Titan Cadets for all their accomplishments.







McDowell High NJROTC Hosts Summer Leadership Training Camp

McDowell’s freshman cadet, Alex Patton, was a fierce competitor in the Ammo Box Carrier Relay Race and was determined to win.


PHOTO BY JEFF MC CLURE


Leadership, honor and teamwork all become a way of life for a McDowell High NJROTC cadet. The NJROTC cadet staff members have worked hard to provide a great experience for every participant. Judging by the expressions on the faces of the cadets at Saturday’s graduation ceremony; everyone had a meaningful and unique experience at SLT Leadership Camp.

“Mission accomplished and as they say in the US Navy ‘Bravo Zulu! Well done!'”


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